BOLD Cities design session sparks three new interdisciplinary research projects

On Thursday 16 May, a select group of Leiden-Delft-Erasmus researchers was invited to a day-long research design session, meant to jointly develop research projects related to the Centre for BOLD Cities’ research themes: for, by and with citizens and civil servants. The Centre, striving to allocate a part of its funding to relevant cooperative research, organised this design session, during which researchers from various disciplines in the LDE universities aligned their initial proposals and jointly set up three research projects.

The three research projects will be carried out by three interdisciplinary groups, which have each formulated a research plan for the upcoming three years. Each of the projects is connected to one of the Centre’s main research themes.


Today we are getting ready for our Research Design Session together with a group of briljant researchers from many different domains and faculties. #shared #boldcities #bigdata #LDE #researchdesign #SmartCities

— Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Centre for BOLD Cities (@BOLDCities) 16 May 2019

For citizens and civil servants

This research line focuses on the use of data and digital technologies to aid vulnerable urban groups such as the working poor, NEETs (young citizens that are not in education, employment or training) and persons with a disability. The developed BOLD Cities research project for this theme will integrate vertical and horizontal data collection to identify patterns that can improve the urban environment for vulnerable youth at different levels such as the physical environment, school environment and municipal support. The question is how and if patterns in the urban and online environment can be identified, and if these patterns can be used to identify undiagnosed/unidentified youths.

By citizens and civil servants

We can say that the urban digitalisation and datafication processes is developed in multi-stakeholder processes in which municipalities, companies, knowledge institutions and citizens cooperate. The second research theme, by citizens and civil servants, revolves around the enhancements of these new forms of urban participation and governance. In the new BOLD Cities project, the research team will explore possibilities on how data can be collected from different stakeholders before and during an emergency to help improve emergency relief. This is important since the access to and the (re)use of data is critical to a proper emergency response, and may help a municipality in effectively planning for, responding to, and rebuilding after an urban disaster. Through this project, the research team hopes to define tools and protocols that facilitate the sharing of data among citizens and governmental agencies.

With citizens and civil servants

The research with citizens and civil servants aims on the development of urban data literacy and democratic legitimisation. The research team for this theme will explore how different groups are using digital technologies to navigate and represent the city. The proposed BOLD Cities project focuses on research in two urban neighborhoods with divergent “symbolic trajectories”, i.e. the different cycles of economic and cultural (de-)valuation and (de-)appreciation attributed to urban neighborhoods (e.g. shrinking areas vs. gentrified parts). This is used to understand how such developments are shaped by, and seen in relation to digital practices and platforms. The central question of this research project is “How do local residents, civil servants and visitors understand and use digital technologies in relation to the symbolic trajectories of urban neighborhoods?”

The intention is to have a kick-off meeting with the three research team before the summer holidays, so they can start their research in September 2019. From each team, several publications and presentations on the project’s deliverables are anticipated. In addition, each team will be supported by the Centre for BOLD Cities team in developing a successful impact strategy. We will use this website - particularly the BOLD Blog - for regular updates on the projects' progress.